Acren Wacren Waney Vo
Topics Taped Rugs Productions
, Charles Rice Goff III
, C. Goff III
, United Society Of Believers
, Early American
, End Of The World
, Edward Deming Andrews
, Spontaneous Music
, Dream Composition
, Experimental Music
, Cassette Culture
, for fans of The Residents
, for fans of Dadaism
, for fans of Laurie Anderson
, for fans of Philip Glass
Acren Wacren Waney Vo
by Charles Rice Goff III
1 Candle Wax
2 Simple Gifts
3 Hop Up And Jump Up
4 Mother Ann's Song
5 Ine Vine Violet
6 The Voice Of God
7 Gift To The Half-Deaf
8 Now My Dear Companions
Author's Notes (please read, thanks)
The approach of late December, 2012, has brought with it a great deal of public discussion regarding "the end of the world." A number of prophets and prognosticators of various philosophical and religious backgrounds have picked this very time in history as the point at which humanity's reign on earth will be terminated. In the course of investigating this subject, I became interested in the American revivalist "United Society Of Believers", or the group more commonly known as the "Shakers." Between the late 1700's and the middle 1860's, this group grew from a handful of worshipers into a nationwide community of nearly 6,000. In the course of my research, I discovered that the Shakers did not pick 2012 as a specific date for the end of all things, which easily could have caused me to shift my attention to focus on another group of apocalyptic prognosticators. On the contrary, however, the more I read about these people, the more I became fascinated by their unique mystical and idealistic philosophies. It was this fascination which inspired me to produce this collection of recordings.
What appealed to me most of all was that the entire early Shaker culture was built around spontaneous musical compositions and songs that came to its members during their sleep. I could not help but find this interesting, since I myself have employed these same techniques to compose hundreds of original songs over the last thirty or so years. The early Shakers referred to these songs as "gifts," provided by dead souls, angels, or even God The Father (or, just as likely in the case of the Shakers, God The Mother). Shakers were forbidden to sing secular music or songs that originated from other religious sects. Instead, they sang the essences of their inspired thoughts, often as they ran, jumped, danced, and whirled around in fits of visionary ecstasy. Many of these songs conveyed messages in unknown languages. As time went by, Shaker scribes wrote down some of these songs and collected them in hymn books, which were shared among Shaker communities all across America. I was stunned to discover that the first Shaker "dream composition" to be written down for posterity was the product of one 14-year-old Ann Maria Goff. Sadly only a few words and no melody remain of this vision today. (I cannot claim to be related either.)
The book: "The Gift To Be Simple," written by Edward D. Andrews (published in 1940 by J.J. Augustin) served as my primary source of information for this project. The book not only contains historical perspectives on the early Shakers, but it also contains a number of notated Shaker songs, most of which are short, unorchestrated melodies, accompanied by a few words or by syllables from unknown languages. The book is available at no cost on the internet at the address below:
I interpreted six of the songs from this book to create this collection, incorporating my own visions and undocumented genres in the process. To me personally, the "miracle" of the Shakers is the resurrection of these old melodies, as channeled through these interpretations.
Regarding the miraculous nature of this project, I should add that in late November, 2012, I was stricken with a severe infection in my right ear, which, among its many deleterious qualities, rendered me deaf on that side of my head. I can only speculate as to whether this affliction was brought upon me as a challenge, punishment, or source of inspiration by some spiritual force. When this malady suddenly struck, I was only about half-finished with the recordings presented here. Fortunately, all of the vocals and woodwinds had been recorded already. However, some keyboard parts, guitar bits, applications of sound effects, and all the final mixing had to be carried out while I was only able to hear with my left ear. I remain in that half-deaf condition as I write these notes. My sincerest hope is that another miracle happens soon, allowing me to hear these completed recordings with both ears.
While I am not an Evangelical Christian myself, I am attracted to many early Shaker philosophical principals. The Shakers believed in simple and unpretentious living, in communities where all worldly goods were held in common. They practiced pacifism, to the point that some early Shakers, unwilling to fight in the American Revolution, were locked in prison. They championed equality of the sexes; their first leader was a woman: Mother Ann Lee. Their belief that sexual activity was the root of all human evil, however, was their eventual undoing, and, while there still are a few Shakers in America today, their beliefs are quite modified from those held by their predecessors.
In regards to "the end of the world," the early Shaker philosophy offered a unique hope for the doomed people of Earth. To the Shakers, the second coming of Christ was not to be a sudden, physical descent from the clouds of heaven, but a gradual appearance of Christ's spirit within people's minds. The end of all things earthly would follow this slowly-building enlightenment at some indeterminate point. Most importantly, however, the Shakers believed that even people who died not believing in their unique interpretation of Christ still could be "saved" after their deaths, through the postmortem enlightenment of their non corporeal spirits. In essence, they preached for humanity not to fret -- the end of the world may indeed be at hand, but everyone gets a chance at paradise, no matter what happens here on Earth.
C. Goff III, December 10th, 2012
Voices, Midisoft MIDI Composing Tool, Korg R3 Vocoder/Synthesizer, Turkey Electronic Guitar, Balinese Flute, Wooden Flute, Prerecorded Wolves, Sound Effects
Notes On Individual Songs:
1 Both "Candle Wax" and "Gift To The Half-Deaf" are original Goff III works, each a spontaneously-composed "gift," provided to Goff by unnamed spiritual sources. Both were created on December 6th, 2012, while Goff was limited to hearing only through his left ear.
2 "Simple Gifts" was one of the most popular Shaker songs sung during the mid 1800's. One early manuscript states that the song was "composed by the Alfred Ministry, June 28th, 1848."
3 "Hop Up And Jump Up" (author unknown), popularized during the mid 1800's, was sung and danced with all the motions and gestures that it suggests.
4 "Mother Ann's Song" is actually ascribed to the first leader of the Shakers herself. Dated as being written in 1782, it qualifies as one of the oldest of all Shaker songs. The lyrics (added by Goff III): "Where The Pretty Angels Dwell, Heaven," were the actual words dreamed by Ann Maria Goff when she channeled the first recorded Shaker dream composition in 1837.
5 "Ine Vine Violet" playfully exemplifies the nonsense rhyme music of the early Shakers. This piece from 1838 is ascribed to Hannah Ann Agnew.
6 "The Voice Of God" is included in this collection to emphasize the apocalyptic beliefs of the Shakers. The individual who first put this song to paper, a Mr. Henry DeWitt, wrote at the end of the score: "Words spoken by the Lord, November 28th, 1841, at our supper table." (Author's Note: It interests me particularly that the date of the year that this wrathful piece came into existence exactly coincides with the date that some seedlings of illness took root in my nose and throat, eventually blossoming into my deafness by November 30th. See Author's Notes (paragraph four) for more information on this disturbing coincidence.)
7 "Now My Dear Companions" is the newest of the Shaker compositions included in this collection, likely from the early 1860's. It was one of the first Shaker songs to be written in three-part harmony, ascribed to Augustus P. Blase.
by Taped Rugs Productions
January 7, 2013